YARMOUTH, N.S. – With a 4-2 win over the Truro Bearcats in front of a sold-out Mariners Centre on March 27, the Yarmouth Mariners won Game 7 of this semi-final division series and now move on to face the South Shore Lumberjacks in the division final.
The series between Truro and Yarmouth was a long, hard-fought series that saw two shutouts early on in the series and Game 5 going to triple overtime before the Mariners won that contest.
The Mariners opened up the scoring of this must-win Game 7 at 1:45 in the first period off the stick of Connor Peveril (Campbell Balk). Truro answered back at 7:04 in the first frame with a goal by William Mizuik (Alex MacDonald, Dylan Burton). The Mariners scored two quick goals later to widen their first-period lead to 3-1, first on a goal by Ben Chipman (Kyle Bergh, Brendan Young) at 11:58 and then with a goal by Logan Timmons (Adam Pilotte, Patrick Daley) at 13:33.
The only goal scored in the second period was by Mariner Kyle Bergh (Lauchie MacDonald, Brendan Young).
The Bearcats cut the Mariners lead in half with a goal by Graham Rutledge (Cameron MacLeod, Campbell Pickard) at 13:58 in the third period.
There were only two penalties in the entire game, with the first coming at 11:00 in the second period when Yarmouth player Derrick Johnson was sent to the box for slashing. The other penalty was a cross checking call on Dylan Burton in the final minute of the game while the Bearcats net was empty and the Bearcats had the extra attacker on the ice.
The Bearcats put up hard pressure in the final minutes of the game but the Mariners defended their net well.
Still, it made for nervous moments for the Yarmouth fans who erupted in loud cheers when the final buzzer sounded and the home team had won.
“It was obviously just a tough, hard series,” said Mariners head coach Laurie Barron following the Game 7 win. “They’re the defending champs and they’ve got some guys left over who knew how to win, it was just battle. We fought for every inch of ice.”
“I think tonight the determining factor was everyone wanted to win so much for Luc Poirier,” he said. Poirier was injured in Game 6 and wasn’t on the ice for this final game of the series. “He’s a big part of our club. Not to have him everybody just jumped in and played that extra 15 per cent. It was a credit to each and every one of them.”
Barron said the Mariners had a good jump in the first period and came out strong.
Asked what the final minute of the game was like when Truro was pouring it on, the coach said it was nerve wracking.
“They came at us hard towards the end,” he said.
Bearcats head coach Shawn Evans credited the Mariners on their win after the series ended.
“It’s disappointing to lose. It came down the one game and the home team, they deserved to win today,” he said. “We played not the way we played most of the series and we gave Yarmouth time and space and they got after us on the rush and they made us pay.”
Asked if he had expected this series to go all the way to a Game 7, Evans replied, “I don’t coach to lose. I’ve never cared about where the games are. I’ve never cared about the standings. All I’ve cared about is to get the playoffs and make do your best. I’m really proud of my team, they did their best but it wasn’t good enough. I’ve known Laurie for a long time, I wish those guys the best of luck in round two.”
Mariner Duncan McKie said the series was definitely a battle.
“Truro is always hard to beat in the playoffs. We were prepared to go to a Game 7. They fought us all the way through, took three games from us on the road, but we took the four games in the series. That’s what we play 50 games for, to get that home ice advantage, that was almost the difference.”
Teammate Aaron Maillet said the final game was a lot of fun to play and said he felt the team has come out of this playoff round even stronger and closer than it was before.
Asked about the fan support, the two players couldn’t say enough good words.
“It was awesome,” said Maillet, with McKie adding, “They’re always there for us.”
Mariner Matthew Barron also said following the Game 7 win that the Mariners knew it wasn’t going to be an easy playoff round against Truro.
“They’re well coached. They work hard,” he said. “I just can’t say enough good things about our guys. They worked hard to get this win.”
Asked about how you prepare for a Game 7, Barron said he just approached it like “another game.”
“Sometimes the thoughts creep into your head, but once you get out there you just play your game and hope for the results and we got it tonight so we’re happy about that.”
Asked about the final minutes of the game, Barron also described it as nerve wracking, but said, “You always feel pretty comfortable when you’re got Leif Hertz between the pipes because he’s done it for us all year and we’ve been pretty good defensively all year so we were pretty confident that we were going to pull that one out.”
Hertz made 35 saves in the game off 37 Truro shots. In net for the Bearcats, Kevin Resop faced 30 shots, making 26 saves.
Asked for his thoughts about Game 7 following the win Hertz said, “All the boys were ready for it. Truro is a great team defensively and we got lucky tonight because we got some early ones. After that we just put our heads down and got ‘er done.”
After the game Hertz got a surprise when he found out his dad had been in the stands watching. His father hadn’t told him he was coming to watch the game. Hertz said his dad made the road trip from their home in Kingston, Ontario, after the series was pushed to a Game 7.
“It was a big surprise,” said Hertz.
SCHEDULE FOR NEXT PLAYOFF ROUND:
Game 1 Saturday March 31 @ Yarmouth 7:30
Game 2 Monday April 2 @ South Shore 7:00
Game 3 Wednesday April 4 @ Yarmouth 7:00
Game 4 Friday April 6 @ South Shore 7:00
Game 5 Sunday April 8 @ Yarmouth 7:00
Game 6 Monday April 9 @ South Shore 7:00
Game 7 Wednesday April 11 @ Yarmouth 7 PM